Podcasts, Various Writing Projects, Music Albums, Etc., Etc.

Miskatonic University Podcast

Miskatonic University Podcast Episode 133

Episode 133

I joined the hosts of the Miskatonic University Podcast for episode 133 and their main topic of Pulp Cthulhu‘s sixth chapter. That chapter explores how magic works in the setting, as well as the game’s primary optional rules: psychic powers and weird science. My upcom

H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival Logo

ing campaign, A Cold Fire Within, prominently features psychic phenomena, so I lent my experience to the discussion. I also talked briefly about my recent trip to Portland, Oregon, for the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival and CthulhuCon. On the forum thread for the episode, I list my viewing highlights from the festival, all of which will hopefully be available to view at some point.

A Cold Fire Within and Other Writings



I returned the revised manuscript for the aforementioned Pulp Cthulhu campaign A Cold Fire Within in August, a couple of weeks after returning from NecronomiCon. It is scheduled to move into production in 2018, and I hope for us all to have it in our hands toward the end of that year. Chaosium and I will have more to say later, but some hints appear in that podcast regarding its stylistic aims. Pulp Cthulhu allows me to take the player characters deeper into corners of Lovecraft’s universe than usual.

I’m currently working on my scenario “Deeper than Skin” for New Comet Games‘ Devil’s Swamp after its successful Kickstarter for a source book on Massachusetts’s Hockomock Swamp.

I’ve also turned in another article to Sentinel Hill Press for its Kingsport issue of The Arkham Gazette, this time for an NPC inspired by an artistic figure from Marblehead, the real-world basis for Lovecraft’s fictional town.

Sadsadsex Album Release on Bandcamp

The first album as such from kittycat lollipop, sadsadsex, is out now. These songs, along with the first two tracks on last month’s re-release of False Starts and Second Chances, were the first we wrote, recorded, and performed. They were sent via CD-R and electronic file to various reviewers, Internet radio stations, and mp3 sites, often to the confusion (sometimes dismaying, sometimes delightful) of the recipient. Kittycat lollipop was the first act mentioned in the inaugural Great Demo Review in San Diego CityBeat, serving as a cautionary tale. During the description of how all the paper’s columnists took part in reviewing everything that was sent in, our reviewer was described excitedly snatching up the CD upon seeing our name and subsequently regretting that decision. I still treasure this memory.

Kittycat lollipop, you scare me. You remind me of Soft Cell’s “Sex Dwarf”–you know, the one about “luring disco doggies [sic] to a life of vice”? That kind of thing leaves a mark on little Catholic schoolgirls, ya know? I like the first song here [“A Reunion (of sorts)”], though–kind of Figurine-meets-Fischerspooner. Go with more of that. — Kelly Davis, San Diego CityBeat

“There Is a New Star in the Skies Tonight” was written at the end of this first group of songs, joining the live-set rotation with the second show. It strikes me as a bridge between the early songs and what came later, easily fitting with either. My deadpan vocals were giving way to something more frenetic, even unhinged at times. I often looked at my lyrics as not just observations of the flawed world around me but as warnings, including to myself. Perhaps I was becoming more and more frustrated and desperate.

A Tear in the VeilFilm projection was a key component of our performances, one we used whenever feasible. Patrick Loveland shot a series of films tied to the initial songs. Since serving as our beloved filmographer, Patrick has become an accomplished author. His debut novel, A Tear in the Veil, a delirious admixture of genres and life experiences, was recently released.

One of those films was edited into a proper video and posted on YouTube, featuring stop-motion animation created by Patrick, as well as treated shots of one of Golden Gate Park’s windmills.

As mentioned previously, he created videos for both the songs in our CD-R single. Here they are. The video for “What Then?” remains a highlight of kittycat lollipop’s existence for me.

Lastly, in celebration of Halloween, here are photos taken during a 2006 house party.


Kickstarter, Campaign Announcement, and Bandcamp Release

Kickstarter for Devil’s Swamp

Devil's SwampI am part of the Kickstarter campaign for Devil’s Swamp, a Call of Cthulhu supplement based on the Hockomock Swamp from New Comet Games. The $20,000 stretch goal adds a scenario written by me to the book. At this moment, the campaign has just passed $17,000, with 18 days remaining. I expect the campaign will surpass the amount required for my inclusion in the finished book, but you never know. And there are far more stretch goals after mine, including unannounced writers. The stretch goal to include a scenario by Brian Courtemanche has already been reached. Take a look, and, if you are so moved, join in on making this a reality.

Announcement of My Upcoming Campaign

The big news during the Campaigns for Call of Cthulhu panel at NecronomiCon this year was that Masks of Nyarlathotep, one of roleplaying’s most famous campaigns, will get a significantly updated and expanded edition, shepherded by Mike Mason with the help of a stellar group of writers, Lynne Hardy, Paul Fricker, and Scott Dorward.

Of much more minor note was the announcement of my own campaign for Pulp Cthulhu, A Cold Fire Within. The campaign should be out at some point in 2018, and there will be more to say about it in due course.

Release of the First Kittycat Lollipop Single on Bandcamp

From 2005 to 2009, I created and performed music as part of kittycat lollipop, a strange mix of often upbeat electronic music and darkly surreal lyrics. These were in the days when MySpace dominated the music scene, and, while kittycat lollipop never garnered much attention, we connected with fans and like-minded bands around the world, as well as confusing local audiences with our live performances. I was busy enough with it that I left RPG writing for a few years. After having a number of RPG projects fall through, I chose to concentrate on the creative pursuit that was actually going somewhere. Eventually, kittycat lollipop came to an end, and I returned to RPGs fully when I jumped at the chance to work with Keith Herber, a writer and editor I greatly admire, on New Tales of the Miskatonic Valley. In 2010, Strange Aeons II finally saw publication, eight years after I wrote my scenario for it.

I performed for the first time in six years a few months ago. My partner in kittycat lollipop was in town, and we both played solo noise sets. Certainly, having something of a reunion put me in mind of those days, so I’ve decided to start putting our songs up on Bandcamp for those who fondly remember them or those who might want to come to them with fresh ears. The first single is up now, and it can be downloaded for free. The band page also has links to YouTube videos based on the films that were sometimes projected at our performances.

Photograph by Titanium Exposure

Photograph by Titanium Exposure

Duct tape mask. Photograph by Sam Lopez of Stay Strange